Intoxication is a human constant, as you can read in one of your articles. Is there intoxication without danger?
Tony Berthel: In most human cultures there was and still is a desire for intoxication. For a long time it took place as part of rituals because it was too dangerous to get high alone – otherwise you were defenseless against the forces of nature or wild animals. The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk says: With the de-ritualization of consumption comes addiction. Here the danger begins.
Why do people want to get drunk?
The reasons have been the same for a long time: It’s about crossing borders, about being happy. The intoxication enables us to have new sensory experiences and explore boundaries, which plays a particularly important role in adolescence and puberty. The high is also an experience that aids in the transition from childhood to adulthood.
What does it take to prevent intoxication from becoming a danger to society?
The sale of intoxicating substances must be regulated. Young people must also have role models who show how the consumption of substances such as alcohol can be dealt with responsibly. It is also better if young people have such experiences in groups. This allows them to support each other, and the high takes place as part of a shared ritual.
Would we be healthier without the high?
The fact is that alcohol has high health costs. In Switzerland, the costs caused by alcohol abuse amount to 2.8 billion francs a year. At the same time, we have to accept that feeling healthy and being healthy is not just about physical health, but also about mental health. Taking psychoactive substances is part of human experience. We shouldn’t question the intoxication itself, but rather our use of and attitudes toward alcohol and psychoactive substances.
Alcoholics about Migros: «I was able to shop here without being triggered»(02:03)